Paul Cézanne, a renowned post-impressionist painter, worked in the hill town of Gardanne near Aix-en-Provence from 1885-1886. He painted Gardanne using oil on canvas, measuring 31 ½ x 25 ¼. The painting displays intense volumetric patterns of geometric rhythms most pronounced in the houses as he was interested in developing formal structure in his paintings.
Cézanne uses an unusual high horizon line that emphasizes the landscape and gives a sense of vastness to the picture. The steeple of the local church crowns the cluster of red-roofed buildings which animate the sloping terrain. This prominent feature dominates all other structures and creates an equilibrium with its position and height relative to others.
Gardanne’s composition significantly influenced Cubist artists such as Braque and Picasso. Cézanne’s technique involves breaking up forms into planes with strong, simple shapes; he used this approach not only in his landscapes but also in his portraits. Through Gardanne artwork, we can appreciate how elements like color, shape, texture compose a painting that holds relevance centuries later.